Latest Public Sector News

11.06.12

Foreign language learning to be compulsory

Changes to the national curriculum could include compulsory foreign language learning from the age of seven, education secretary Michael Gove is set to announce.

Children in primary schools could also be required to recite poetry from the age of five, proposals suggest. The plans will go to public consultation later this year and are scheduled to be introduced in 2014.

A new focus on spelling and grammar will also be identified, with a systematic approach to phonics and setting out exactly what grammar primary school children should be taught each year.

Gove is to promote more rigorous English teaching to raise standards of literacy. Primary schools offering lessons in Mandarin, Latin and Greek as well as French, German and Spanish could reverse the decline in pupils taking foreign languages at GCSE, he thinks.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Some will think aspects are too demanding, others that they are not demanding enough, and there will be debate around what is appropriate at different ages.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the school leaders’ union, NAHT, said “Reciting poetry and learning foreign languages are great for young children: both useful and enjoyable. That's why almost every primary school in the country teaches them both already.”

However, others warned that teachers should be allowed the flexibility to use their experience to decide what should be taught and how.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

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